As human beings we have a fundamental desire to make an impact.
Credit to GoPro who has captured this fundamental desire in two gentlemen from rural China who despite their physical challenges and social status are making a difference in their community!
I hope you can give these two 10 minutes of your time!
Purpose from a business perspective
Simon Sinek captures the concept of Purpose in business in his now famous (27+million views) TEDx talk from 2009 titled “How great leaders inspire action”. If you haven’t already done yourself the service – please take the time to watch it. If you are very short on time – then at least watch the first 5 minutes.
Sinek presents the concept of the Golden Circle and one of the questions he poses with regards to your company’s purpose is: Why do you get out of your beds in the morning – and why should anyone else care?
Business value of purpose
What value does having a clear purpose have for companies?
Since the start Industrial Revolution this desire to make an impact on the world around us has been something that in general has been excluded from our jobs. If we had sufficient time and energy AFTER work, then we could get involved in extracurricular activities to make a difference.
Reality in the 21st Century is that we have begun to realize that our work can also be a source of purpose for us in our lives.
Not only that – the young people who are entering the job market today (Millennials, Gen-Y/Z) have a fundamental expectation that the companies they work for are able to give them a sense of purpose. They want to feel that they are making a difference in the world – where the “world” can be anything from their neighborhood to “the whole world”.
The most talented people in the world don’t work for you – they may not even live in your corner of the world. So the big question will be how to attract global talent. The answer – purpose. If you have a clear and articulated purpose, then those talented people who believe what you believe will find you and they will want to work for you – you will win the global competition for talent.
Just a few years ago, the amount of data available to business owners was relatively limited and by reading a newspaper or two in the morning, a business leader could capture the most important information and make good business decisions.
Now – online media provides information 24/7 – LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram – and the list goes on – provide “data” continuously. A single individual cannot capture this data and transform it into information and knowledge at the necessary speed for leaders.
Here is where purpose comes in. When the purpose is clear and communicated within the company, then every employee knows what direction the business is going in and WHY. When all of these eyes and ears capture data then they are able to transform it into information and knowledge. When we add trust to the equation, then these employees are not scared to go to their superiors with this information and knowledge – and then the company can make rapid and agile decisions.
The world we live in is volatile – change is the only constant.
Once again a clear and articulated purpose enables the organization to make the agile decisions that such an environment requires for success.
Note: as Simon Sinek points out – the WHY is biologically linked to the limbic brain – which has no ability for language. That is why it is difficult for us to express our purpose. But, we have to make the effort to get past this limitation and put words on the WHY.
That’s the first challenge.
The next is living the purpose. Making business decisions based on your purpose and designing your business processes on your purpose ensures that everyone on the team is aligned and that there is a “feeling” of direction in everything the company does.
I intend to revisit these topics in later posts as these few lines do no justice to the depth of value in these topics.